Elephants and Feathers

My left leg and a light bulb don’t equal two of anything even though one plus one surely equals two – except there is always scope for an active imagination to find a connection. Indeed no branch of mathematics is without its imaginative dimension – especially when we take a mathematical equation to stand for an equalisation of differences, so to prove that mathematics not only shows how the universe works, it also shows how it is. However, reality is bigger than our explanations, which is why an active imagination remains an essential requirement for doing science. And it takes an active imagination to say that all things are really one thing because the differences disappear at atomic levels.

Therefore, whilst it is true that an elephant equals a feather because their differences disappear when comparing their behaviour under gravity, nevertheless such convergences in reality have nothing to tell us about the emergent divergences – whereby realities come to differ from one another. Meanwhile, our scientific equations rely on differences that can be equated. Yet even at an elementary level there remains a functional difference between energy and matter, otherwise we would have no basis to start looking for their equivalence. And despite all our proofs there are other phenomenal differences that pertain – because life is an unnecessary divergence within material reality, and consciousness marks a fundamental departure of a different sort, whilst the brain provides only secondary evidence of the existence of a thought.

Mike Laidler

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